Grilled Cheese – A Basic Cooking Lesson from Home-Ec 101

Disclaimer: If you’re teaching  a young child to cook, these are intended to be a good starting point, but children will still need supervision as knives are sharp and stoves are hot. Capiche?

Heather says:
♫ Let’s start at the very beginning
A very good place to start
When you read you begin with A-B-C
When you sing you begin with do-re-mi ♪

Whether you’re looking to teach your child the very basics of cooking or you barely know your way around a kitchen and are looking to change that, learning how to make a grilled cheese sandwich is an excellent first step.

The secret to a good grilled cheese sandwich is to keep the heat medium low (3-ish on many electric stoves, but stoves vary and you’ll have to experiment with your setup. If your bread is dark brown after two minutes, you’ll want to lower the heat for your next one). The lower heat allows the outside of the sandwich to cook slow enough that the cheese has time to melt before the outside of the bread burns.

Make sense? Let’s go.

Whether you're looking to teach your child the very basics of cooking or you barely know your way around a kitchen and are looking to change that, learning how to make a grilled cheese sandwich is an excellent first step.

You’ll need the following:

Ingredients For Basic Grilled Cheese

  • Bread (cheap is fine, but not so cheap that it’s full of holes that will let the cheese escape)
  • Butter
  • Cheese that melts (American, Havarti, Meunster, or Pepper Jack are all good starting points)

Tools For Basic Grilled Cheese

  • Stove or hot plate
  • Skillet or Frying Pan (anything with a flat bottom can be used in a pinch, your pan does not have to be fancy. I’ve taken to using restaurant grade aluminum that I get from a restaurant supply store. There’s no stress with these pans)
  • Spatula
  • Butter knife
  • Plate or paper towels / napkins
  • Knife – if you want to be all fancy and cut your sandwich.

Allow your butter to come to room temperature. Slice off about what you’ll need, in thin slices or pats, and set those on a plate rather than softening the whole stick. Surface to volume ratio is your friend. 

Put your pan on the burner or stove and set the heat to medium low and allow the pan to heat while you assemble your sandwich. 

Butter one side each of two pieces of bread. Pro-Tip: stick the butter sides together if you’re making more than one sandwiches so that you can lay out your cheese before cooking.

Add two slices of cheese to the unbuttered side of one slice of bread. Place the butter side down in your frying pan and let it cook for two – three minutes based on your preferences. During this time, add the second slice of bread with the butter side up.

Slide your spatula under the sandwich and use the side of the pan to help. Gently flip the sandwich so the uncooked side is now on the heat. Wait another two – three minutes and remove from the heat. 

If you want to see the photos larger, click the image below. 

Step By Step Grilled Cheese Tutorial

Enjoy.

IMPORTANT: This is the first in a new series of Cooking Lessons on Home-Ec101.com. Mastering these simple recipes and techniques will help a cook feel confident in their abilities and get them ready to tackle more complicated endeavors.



1 Comment

  1. Christina Contri on January 15, 2016 at 11:26 am

    After always ending up with super crispy crusts and soggy, barely browned middles when making grilled cheese, I took it upon myself to find a better way. Through trial and error, I achieved the perfect grilled cheese. My way involves just one extra step to what’s posted above and it happens before Heather’s instructions. Toast the bread first and allow it to cool completely before buttering. You want the butter to melt while in the pan. Because the bread is hard, not soft, the middle doesn’t “sink” and you get a perfectly crisp, perfectly brown grilled cheese.

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